“We had a crazy day—all of us wrecked [at least once],” Taylor Robert said.
Despite that, though, the U.S. World Trophy team of Robert, Steward Baylor, Zach Bell and Ryan Sipes found themselves leading at the end of day one (November 12) of the 93rd International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), held for the first time in Viña del Mar, Chile.
Team USA Leads The Way After Day One
One of those wrecks involved Baylor in the first test after starting it ahead of Robert. When he saw Baylor on the ground, Robert thought the worst: “I just had flashbacks from last year when Thad [Duvall] was on the ground.” (Last year in France, of course, Duvall broke a wrist in the first test, which prevented the U.S. World Trophy team from repeating its first-ever victory in 2016). But Baylor managed to get going again and—despite an even worse crash later when a Brazilian rider got into a turn on the pavement too hot, taking out Baylor’s front wheel—finished the day with a respectable time that helped boost the American team’s standing.
“I’m stoked that we’re in the lead after the first day; I don’t know if that’s ever happened,” Robert said. After six tests, his total time of 54 minutes, 22.61 seconds not only led the E2 class (250cc two-stroke/450cc four-stroke), it topped the entire field of 450 riders. Baylor finished the day ninth in E2 with his 55:50.28.
Teammate Sipes led E1 (125cc two-stroke/250cc four-stroke) with his 54:57.41, the fourth-best time overall. Like Baylor, Bell suffered through a couple crashes and finished the first day of his first-ever enduro 16th in E3 (500cc two-stroke/650cc four-stroke) in 57:42.12.
As a team, the U.S. effort put them a scant 4.14 seconds ahead of Australia with Spain third, 1:07.60 behind.
The U.S. Junior World Trophy team of Grant Baylor, Ben Kelley and Josh Toth likewise had a few too many crashes for their liking yet came out of it in good shape, considering, trailing only Italy and France.
Grant Baylor said, “As a team, we didn’t have the best day—we had some issues as a team—and like I said, I could’ve gone probably 30 seconds faster throughout the day. So just me alone with my wrecks and mistakes, if you take that away, it would’ve put us in the lead.”
Tarah Gieger, Brandy Richards and Becca Sheets of the U.S. Women’s World Trophy team had a more conservative day than their male counterparts but ended the day second behind five-time and defending champion Australia.
As Gieger put it, “We had some good test times and had some bad ones. I think it’s like that across the board for everyone today. The transfers were kind of tricky—you’d be riding road and then hit a really technical transfer [section]. I think everybody went off the hillside once so that’s not that fun.
“All in all, I think we came out of day one really good and we’re ready for day two.”
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